CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Produced by Rock Demers

Productions la Fete, 1990. VHS cassette, 100:00 min., $250.00 for school libraries (includes teacher's guide), $450.00 for school boards or public libraries (includes novel, teach­er's guide and public performance rights).
Available in French and English. (Tales for All, 11).
Distributed by Cinefete, 1443 Fleury est, Suite 2, Montreal Que. H2C 1R9

Grades 3 to 9/Ages 8 to 14
Reviewed by Ellen Heaney.

Volume 19 Number 5
1991 October

I find myself somewhat perplexed reviewing Rock Demers' Vincent and Me, having enjoyed several of the other films in his 'Tales for All" series (The Dog Who Stopped the War and Bach and Broccoli, to name two).

The story centres on Jo, a lively adolescent whose drawing and painting talents have emerged unexpectedly following a serious illness. A sudden obsession with the life and work of Vincent Van Gogh provides her with the inspiration to be an artist — but it seems she can really only copy.

Jo goes from her small town to summer art school in the big city—and eventually to Amsterdam, in pursuit of a drawing which is actually hers but which has been sold on the international market to a Japanese collector as an authentic early Van Gogh.

The film gets off to a slow start — the segments about the art school and the teacher's disbelief in Jo's talents are too drawn out, and the little world of school is just not convincing. I question whether young people would persevere to the point where the mysterious art dealer appears in Jo's life and buys her drawing, friend Felix obtains photo­graphic proof of the art dealer's duplic­ity, and the chase begins.

The second half of the film is quite entertaining, if more than a little unbelievable: Jo, Felix and Dutch acquaintance Joris seem to have taken a quick course at the Nancy Drew School of Detection. The dream sequence in which Jo finally gets to meet her artist hero will answer some questions for young viewers who are not familiar with the life of Van Gogh.

Unfortunately, the rushed ending brings the whole thing down with a thump, as if screen play writer and director Michael Rubbo's engine had conked out like the Amsterdam canal boat of the story.

High marks for concept and a C for execution of a well-filmed, colourful tale featuring several talented actors.

Ellen Heaney, New Westminster Public Library, New Westminster, B.C.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works